Online Orientation Programs


Using Online Orientation to Meet the Needs and Exceed the Expectations of Transfer Students

Presented By: Katie Granholm, M.S. University of Minnesota Twin Cities [email protected]

Presentation Outline

• • • • • Why Online Orientation? What is an effective transfer orientation program? Considerations – Programmatic, Key Players, Technology, Logistics, Success Overview of U of M Online Orientation Lessons learned

Why Online Orientation?

• Increasing transfer student population – One-third of students transfer during their college career (1995-96 to 2000-01 NCES study) • • Patterns of transfer are changing – “Swirl” Increased attention on the transfer student experience

Our Paradigm and/or Goals

• Charge was to develop and implement a program that achieves the following: – Encourage a less prescriptive and more developmental model – – – Provides options within the mandate of orientation Provides individualized attention to each transfer student Allows transfer students to make choices (whether we agree with them or not) based on their own experiences, interests and needs – Strategically communicates with transfer students through print, web, e-mail, and one-on-one contact from March through the first week of class – Provides a comprehensive, fiscally responsible orientation program

• • • • • • • • • •

What Makes an Effective Transfer Orientation Program?

Institutional commitment Alignment with mission of office and university Collaboration with college constituents Based on assessment of student and institutional needs Takes into account past experiences and future expectations of students Programs that guide students (not mandate) Provides options for students’ developmental needs Academic, social, and behavioral expectations interwoven through the orientation experience Inclusion of parents/guests Assessment and feedback is shared and used!

General Needs of Transfer Students During Transition & Orientation Transitional Social Campus Information Financial Academic

Considerations- Key Players

• • • • • • • Your office New students College constituents Departmental partners Parents and supporters Sponsors? Other?

Considerations- Programmatic

• • • • • • What are your desired outcomes?

What are students looking for in an online orientation? Who can participate? When will online orientation be available? Who will provide and edit content? How does online orientation interface with other programs?

Considerations- Technology

• • • • • • How will the program be administered?

– Does this method align with desired outcomes? Theme and graphic design? Does an existing delivery method exist? – WebCT, Blackboard, registration system? Do students need to log-in? Do students need to be populated into program? Who will have access?

Considerations- Implementation

• How will content be developed and edited? – Is special expertise needed? Are there others on campus who can help? • How will students be driven to online orientation? – Promotion/Marketing • Is participation required or optional? – Do you need to track participation? If so, how?

Considerations- Determining Success

• • • What determines success? – – – Accomplishment of learning outcomes? How will success be measured? When will success be measured? What do you need to know? – May be driven by stakeholders/campus constituencies What method(s) of evaluation will you use? – Online questionnaire, paper form, 6-week follow-up survey, focus groups, usability testing, etc. – Does the method of evaluation align with desired outcomes?

Transfer Orientation at the U of M

• 2 options for creating your orientation experience – Full-day on-campus orientation OR – Half-day on-campus orientation with advanced participation in online orientation

University of Minnesota Online Orientation

Username: tctrans Password: really1snice

Welcome Screen



What Students See in WebCT

Course Content- College

Course Content- General


Lessons Learned

• • • • About 70-75% participation Vast majority have high-speed internet connection- dialup connection not an issue 80% believe Online Orientation is a good introduction to the University After one month on campus, 82% of new transfer students felt that Orientation (both online & on-campus) provided the knowledge base for them to be successful at the University of Minnesota.

Lessons Learned Additional Considerations • • • Orientation leader training – Infuse transfer concepts and issues during selection and ongoing training of orientation leaders Students transferring with less than 18 credit hours or less should have the option of attending first-year orientation. Continually develop and improve the new orientation model – – – Encourage less prescriptive and more developmental programs Provide individualized attention Allow transfer students to make own choices based on own experiences, interests, and needs – Strategically communicate with transfer student through print, web, e-mail, and one-on-one contact

Where we are now

• • • • Received technology-enhance learning grant of $10,000 to integrate video into learning modules – Video will take the form of “student stories”, allowing new students to connect with current U of M students who were also transfers Colleges more confident with outcomes of Online Orientation after receiving evaluation data Have streamlined on-campus orientation schedule, while still meeting the needs of all colleges and departments Offer online-only option for students enrolling in special degree programs – Eg: College of Continuing Education, off-campus Nursing students, and Dental Hygiene students

Online Orientation Programs

• • • • • • • Washtenaw Community College: Carroll Community College: Portland Community College: Napa Valley Community College : Salt Lake Community College :

Southern Illinois University Carbondale:

Utah Valley State College:


Some information was taken from a report entitled

“Framework, Paradigm, and New Transfer Orientation Program.”

This report was prepared by Andy Howe, Assistant Director in Orientation & First-Year Programs, 2005.